Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Bacardi Museum in Santiago de Cuba: A disappointment

We knew that Bacardi’s roots are traced back to Santiago de Cuba so Blondine and I were very excited to visit the Bacardi Museum. We were quite expecting a historical exhibit of the Bacardi spirits empire detailing the evolution, the timeline and the highlights of the Bacardi brand. However, this was not the case.

Emilio Bacardi Museum in Santiago de Cuba. Emilio Bacardi is Don Facundo Bacardi's eldest son.

The Bacardi museum as a matter of fact houses the art and artifact collection (mostly paintings) of the Bacardi family who fled Cuba during the height of the Fidel Castro Cuban Revolution. These are art collections that the family left behind including a well-preserved mummy bought during their travels in Egypt. Yep, art and artifacts. That’s it.

So that is why we were disappointed.

Anyway, for the curious, here is a quick historical synopsis of the Bacardi brand:

Bacardi was founded by Facundo Bacardi Masso, a wine merchant born in Catalonia, Spain and emigrated to Cuba in 1830. His wine experimentations led him to develop the Bacardi white rum. He then opened the first Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba. Fruit bats lived in the distillery house’s roof beams. Hence, the birth of the bat Bacardi logo.

During the Cuban Revolution in the 1960’s, the Bacardi family fled the country to the Bahamas (currently headquarters of Bacardi) when Castro’s regime confiscated Barcardi’s assets. It is believed that the Bacardi empire helped backed the US embargo case against Cuba.

You can find a detailed history and more information about Bacardi here: Wikipedia: Bacardi and Bacardi Limited: Heritage-Early Years

Nowadays, Bacardi is NOT sold in Cuba. The main rum brand sold there is called ‘Havana Club’.

Who knows, one day Bacardi might just be reunited with its birthplace, Santiago de Cuba. Perhaps when the ailing and old Castro dies? Like I say, who knows?

The Bacardi (art and artifacts collection) Museum in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

Ironically, Bacardi is not sold in Cuba, instead you can find the brand 'Havana Club' that is owned by the Cuban government. Moi here having a rest on a bench across the Bacardi Museum.

A peek to the outside from the Bacardi Museum.

Across the street from the Bacardi Museum is the beautiful building, Palacio Provincial.

Would you believe that this is Cuba's public transportation? This old truck is their bus.

Travel Period: May 2012
Destination: Santiago de Cuba (Santiago de Cuba), Cuba

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